René Robertson Fourrures is located in Mashteuiatsh, an Innu First Nations reserve in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The company was officially founded by René Robertson in 1960, but the Robertson family can trace its fur trading activities back six generations.
Mashteuiatsh is located on historical fur trading routes, and the Robertson family began buying raw pelts from Cree, Innu, Atikamekw, Algonquin and Montagnais trappers to sell to Europeans sometime in the mid to late 19th century.
After founding his company in 1960, René Robertson (1926–2012) opened an artisanal kiosk in 1971 to sell a variety of fur garments such as coats, mittens, boots and hats designed and manufactured in Mashteuiatsh while continuing to buy and sell pelts. In 1980, the company acquired Fourrures Micheline Ltée and Leclerc Faucher, both of Montreal. René’s son, Édouard Robertson, took over the family business in 1996 and, together with Lucie Marcoux, continues to run the business today.
In addition to creating its own fur garments and accessories, René Robertson Fourrures has collaborated with many other enterprises and organizations. The company has manufactured more than 50,000 fur collars for Kanuk, Louis Garneau Sports and Chlorophylle winter coats, 25,000 fur hats for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and fur accessories for Harricana. As fur fell out of fashion during the 1980s and 1990s, René Robertson diversified into the manufacture of leather, suede and sheepskin garments, and began offering fur remodelling services. Since 2007, the company has also manufactured non-fur garments and uniforms for the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).
Robertson, Josée & Dubuc, Élise. “Les Robertson de Mashteuiatsh : Négociants en fourrures de père en fils” Érudit, Les Éditions Cap-aux-Diamants inc., 22 March 2019, https://www.erudit.org/fr/revues/cd/2004-n76-cd1046045/7302ac.pdf
Gill, Pierre. “Fourrure et mode : tradition et modernité” Premières Nations, Premières Nations enr., 8 March 2017, https://premieresnations.ca/articles/organismes-et-entreprises-se-regroupent-retour-en-force-de-la-fourrure-par-lentremise-de-la-mode